Friday, March 23, 2007

Hydrogenated Oils??!!!

So we all know they're bad, but am I alone when I say I've never actually understood why? The fact that they were, was enough for me. But I've been thinking for a while now that I really needed to do some reading on the topic to have some real conviction behind my attempt to ban them from our house. So last night I read a couple of articles online; one entitled "What's wrong with Hydrogenated Oils?" and the other, "Trans Fats, Metabolic Poisons." They were the first I stumbled on, so I'm sure there are much better, more accredited studies out there, but these were educational nonetheless.

(Permission to stop reading if you are actually going to read the articles, are already educated in the matter, or are just un-interested... because here is my attempt at a brief summary.)

Hydrogenated oils (oil that has been heated with hydrogen and the chemical makeup is changed in the process, now containing hydrogen bubbles and becoming a solid, like Crisco) contain tons of Trans fats. They are literally poisons. In the same way that arsenic is a poison because it restricts oxygen from getting to your cells, hydrogenated oils restrict nutrients from getting to your body's cells. They also allow tons of bad things through, allergens, carcinogens, and other toxins. Carcinogens cause cancer. I didn't know that.

Saturated fats have always sounded like the culprits-- they are nowhere near as dangerous as Trans fats. While they are not "good" for you, the essential fatty acids in fat ARE, and they are at least able to be burned. The trans fats bind themselves to cell walls in your body, because as a once essential fat (i.e. good oils that haven't been over heated) they are supposed to have a function in your body (acting as guard at the cell wall, letting in the good stuff, keeping out the bad.) However while the side that binds to the cell wall remains unchanged, and so still binds, the side that is supposed to do the work is ruined in the hydrogenation process. So instead of letting in the good and keeping out the bad, it does just the opposite. It allows the toxins to pass through while keeping the things out that help your brain, immune system, metabolism, heart etc... to function properly. The articles I read describe adamantly that hydrogenated oils are just like tobacco, they will kill you over time. They lead to allergies, cancer, auto-immune disease (your body attacks itself), diabetes, obesity, and more.

"Until the 1970's, food producers used coconut oil to get that buttery flavor and texture. The American obesity epidemic began when it was replaced with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil -- most often soybean oil." It is a much cheaper fat, which of course is reason enough for the food industry to put it in just about EVERYTHING processed. We all know the less processed the better, but make exceptions for plenty of foods. I sure do. I love the idea of a completely healthful, whole food diet... but love treats far too much to ever really be a health "nut" (as you can tell from my slightly more than rail thin frame ;)) However, I just feel like there should be no place in my home for this particular evil, and especially no place in Sophia's diet.

I will say I was shocked when I looked a little more thoroughly at my labels. I knew to watch out for them in anything packaged in my pantry like snacks for Sophia, crackers, chips, cereals, bars (granola/protein/"fruit"). I didn't really think they used them in ice cream. I mean I never thought ice cream was good for you, but I've been addicted to Dreyers Light Mint and Chip for a while now, and thought it was a lesser evil. So sad to say it has them, as do Skinny Cow's. I think it's worth eating the full fat Breyers with all natural ingredients. At least then it's just a matter of not over-eating, but not a matter of poisoning yourself.

Wow this might be the most boring post ever. But I couldn't stop reading about this stuff last night and thought I had to share, just in case somebody cares like me, but also hasn't found the time to actually learn the dangers. The articles of course say SO much more than I did, SO much clearer than I did.

I realize that perhaps, like a smoker, I won't be able to completely quit overnight (I mean I do have half a carton of light ice cream in my freezer waiting :0) but also, like a smoker, I see no reason to share my addiction with Sophia, with her tiny, pure body. I'm all for home cooking, baking, and enjoying splurges, but they never HAVE to include this crap. (Had to call it what it is.) Sugars, fats, carbs.... in excess, yes dangerous, but in moderation, burnable. Trans fats- pure poison.

I will now step down from the soap box.

(High Fructose Corn Syrup, second evil---- but a blog for another day. :) )

11 comments:

Lauren said...

Wow, Lillie. Thanks for all of the information. I found it very informative and helpful. Yucky stuff and I really admire you and your efforts to try and eat more healthy. I don't think that I'm nearly as dedicated to this as you are. Let me know how it goes. I finally updated my blog today...

Lowdogg said...

Feels good to soapbox once in a while, eh?
It was good. The point isn't to say it just like the source material, but to inform in your way so that people without the info will get at least a little.
Good work.

Denae said...

I've been wondering about this stuff myself lately. I've know not to buy anything with transfat. But can it be disguised? I mean, if the label says 0 trans fat, is that true or is it just hidden in other things? That's what I've been wondering about. I agree with you though to keep it away from you kids. I wish all of the processed foods weren't around us all of the time! It's a battle.

Sarah said...

Wow. So informative Lil, and I love scientific things being put into layman's terms for the likes of me. I've had an anti-partically hydrogenated oil thing for a bit (90% unadheared to), but didn't know WHY it was so much worse for my body.

Oh, and speaking of your body, it's per-fect. If you lose an ounce you're dead (perhaps literally). Get the real Bryers back in the freezer:)

Lindsay & Weston said...

I've always been impressed with your diligence in eating healthy & exercising. This was a very educational blog & I will defintitely pay more attention to the "crap" that I put in to my body. Especially with the little one! And I totally agree and admire that you take the extra time to cook/buy healthy foods for her.

I think this is one thing that I could actually be better about. But for some reason, knowing that carbonation & nutrasweet is also horrible for me doesn't stop me. :)

Lillie said...

Denae- Yeah that's something I meant to mention. The 0 Trans Fats thing? Yeah it's a lie. The product can contain an alloted amount of Hydrogenated oils and still get the label 0 trans fats. The article I read says you can trust that-- just look at the ingredients and if you see the word "hydrogenated"-- bad sign.

Brandon or Michelle. said...

what do we do? can you find us snacks for the babies that are good? please? ;) I guess that's my other problems. convenience. dang my laziness.

seriously, if you have ideas on what good alternatives are (and I'll be sad if they all come from trader joe's, mind you) let your fan base know, we'd all appreciate it.

loved sarah's comment about losing an ounce and dying. :) bring on the dreyers lillie, bring it on. :)

Missy said...

A product can have 1.5 trans fat or less and they can still write 0 on the carton or package. I learned that a while ago...so you do need to check and see if it is in the ingredients. And also, the first ingredient listed on the box is always the one that is in MOST of the product. So, you wanted to see Whole Grain (or one like such) instead of High Fructose...

My opinion. Good researching Lillie. And sharing for that matter.

Genny said...

Lillie! I love this post. My family is passionate about this and I've listened (to an extent) but have avoided *really* getting into the nitty gritty of why because, I figured, ignorance is bliss. And it is...well, was. ;) You explained that *really* well (better than I would ever let Nate) and completely inspired me to ban these things too. You're right, there's no reason for us to force these things upon our kids.
Another really good book that deals with this (and other related subject matters) and has lots of recipes and such: Ultrametabolism. We love that book!

Erin said...

Lillie, thanks so much for researching this! It's funny, because the other day, I've been extra cautious about the snacks I've been giving Lillie, and you just answered all my questions! I love your blogs, and they are never boring. By the way, I didn't get a chance to comment on your TABLE!! I love it, and it goes perfectly with your "pottery barn" looking (from Target) hutch. What a good trade! Kim is so sweet. And I love the organizational corner!

Rebecca said...

Very good to read about. I admit I had to laugh at the section on consumer boycotts, but it's good to be aware of these things. Thanks for the heads up.